Go to contents

Rep. Chung Mong-joon May Seek GNP Leadership

Posted March. 19, 2008 03:02,   


Grand National Party senior member Chung Mong-joon publicly announced his ambition to become the party’s leader, saying, “We pick the six members of our party leadership at the convention. One of the selected will lead our party. It would be wonderful to become the leader or, at least, one of the six honored.”

Appearing on an MBC radio talk show, Chung said, “I don’t enjoy much loyalty from party members at this moment. But I think it’s wonderful to give my best shot. When I win in the upcoming [general] election, I will talk to my constituents and Seoul residents. Then, I will make a final decision.”

Political commentators have long expected him to run for the party leadership. Still, his public announcement was earlier and bolder than expected.

“I have served Ulsan for the past five terms. If I had decided to run there, I would become a six-term member. But in Seoul, my new district, I will be a first-term representative. Look at Barack Obama. He’s a first-term senator. But he has overcome all prejudices and shortcomings. That’s why he’s the Democratic front-runner, I believe,” Chung added.

Chung’s latest remarks imply his decision to change his district to Seoul is the first of his steps toward the presidency. His first trial in Seoul conveys more significance than his five terms in Ulsan.

In a telephone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo, Chung cited Roman philosopher Seneca, saying, “Seneca believed public life was like death. He said that it’s foolish to chase it; but that it’s also unwise to avoid it when it comes to you. Right now, the top of my agenda is this upcoming election. I have to lead our party and help it secure a majority.”

A GNP lawmaker from a Seoul district estimated, “Chung’s decision to run in Seoul was to announce publicly his first step in the long march towards the presidency.”

Once he wins the upcoming battle in a new district, he will easily be able to secure a vantage point over other contenders. A GNP insider projected, “Chung can accommodate GNP moderates. Everything depends on his political leadership. This may be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him.”

Starting his second day of campaigning, Chung visited a neighborhood park, yesterday, and courted support from residents nearby the metro station. He continued his campaign, visiting various corners in his new district. His daily campaign runs from 6 a.m. to midnight almost everyday.

A source close to Rep. Chung said, “The general elections are different from the presidential election. Fewer people vote in this election than in the presidential one. Polls indicate Chung leading his opponents, but we cannot tell for sure whether the results will be what we will have polled.”